Mark Twain once said, “If we were meant to talk more than we listen, we would have two mouths and one ear.” We all know the importance of being a good listener. Who doesn’t appreciate when others listen attentively to us? You might be surprised to find out, most people are not that good at listening. I’ve recently heard a few programs that outline what makes a good listener and I was astonished to find that I can sometimes be a poor listener! Even worse than that… my listening habits are VERY hard to change! Yikes! This stuff takes A LOT of practice!
Take the test below to see if you are a good listener. Then, watch yourself for a few days. You may be completely surprised to realize that you actually act more like you have two mouths and one ear.
The Good Listener Quiz:
- Do you actively hold the other person’s gaze while they’re talking, absorbing every word and taking in the feelings behind the words?
- Do you allow the other person to completely finish their thoughts, leaving space for them to continue at the end of their sentence, or do you rush right in with your own story once they come to a pause?
- As the other person is talking are you thinking about what this information has meant to them, or are you thinking of your own related story that you’d like to tell as soon as they’re finished?
- Do you play “topper” in your mind? When the other person is telling a story, do you try to think of a story to “Top” theirs?
- Do you nod and make supportive comments to acknowledge the other person’s feelings and thoughts?
- While the other person is talking do you get distracted by your phone or other events that might be going on around you, so that you may seem uninterested?
- Do small silences make you uncomfortable and you feel that you need to rush in and say something?
Over the next few days try some of the above good listening techniques. Hold the other’s gaze, nod in support and make comments directly related to their words. Don’t rush right in with your own story. Allow them time to finish their thoughts. Leave space at the end for them to continue. Don’t be distracted by your phone.
Try really listening to your friends, children and co-workers. It’s not as easy as it may seem at first. But, once you’re a better listener, you’ll begin to have deeper, more meaningful relationships. You’ll be surprised to find that others will respect and appreciate you more, even though you may be saying less.
It’s true. When it comes to talking – less is more. And when it comes to listening, two ears are much better than one! Visit Discover-your-diva.com for more.
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